Pop the iPod onto the iLuv and press the iPod button and switches it over to the portable player. You can Play/Pause and skip tracks but you can’t navigate, though that’s no different to the remote that comes with the Apple Hi-Fi. The i9200 also supports MP3 CDs and you can browse by track or folder. However, once you are in a folder you can’t say, press ‘6’ for track six of that particular album – it will take you to track 6 of the entire disc. This is a shame as it can read ID3 tags, so should be able to work it out from that. A FM tuner is also included, but I couldn’t really test this as there’s just a thin wire for an aerial and I could not get any kind of signal indoors. There’s no way of adding an external radio aerial either.
So how does the iLuv sound? Judging by the lightweight construction I wasn’t expecting much and to be frank that proved a fair prediction. The player does its job, is not offensive in any way, but it doesn’t really bowl you over either. When I first turned it on, at low volume it sounded quite pleasing, with a clean sound. As you turn it up the volume level is enough to fill a medium sized room quite easily, and is good enough to get the foot tapping. The sound has a real spacious quality to it, and does a good job of producing vocals and upper frequencies. However, when pushed, the tweeter starts to sound harsh, and hi-hat’s and snares suffer. The biggest problem though is that the lightweight speakers just don’t have a full and rich enough bass – bass lines have no real character or warmth. However, I prefer not enough bass to too much, which can just sound boomy and unpleasant.
The iLuv i9200 can’t be accused of being Hi-Fi – it’s Fashion-Fi. It’s no boombox, but it does its job well enough and that’s to look cool on the wall with the convenience of being able to pop your iPod in. I do wish it could rip your CDs though.
The i9200 is the CD player you’ve always wanted on your wall – a vertical affair with four discs on show and sliding doors. Sound quality is only OK, lacking bass from the lightweight speakers, it doesn’t rip CDs and the remote is poor. However, it does look pretty good so if you want B&O on a budget, it offers good value.
Score in detail